An international team of researchers found a new species of fanged frogs that give birth to living tadpoles, rather than laying eggs as normal frogs do. The strange frogs were discovered in the jungle of Sulawesi Island, in Indonesia.
Scientists said that it was the first time they saw a frog giving birth to living young. Usually, female frogs lay eggs that later get fertilized by a male frog through external reproduction. Later, from the eggs tadpoles hatch. Nearly all 6,000 species of frogs across the globe use this type of reproduction making the Sulawesi frog all the more weird.
Researchers have been hunting for the Sulawesi fanged frog for decades because they suspected it had a special reproductive behavior. The first study about such frog was published Wednesday in the PLOS ONE scientific journal.
“This new frog is one of only 10 or 12 species that has evolved internal fertilization, and of those, it is the only one that gives birth to tadpoles, as opposed to froglets or laying fertilized eggs,”
Dr Jim McGuire, one of the scientists who discovered the frog and professor at the University of California, said.
However, how male fanged frogs manage to fertilize eggs still remains a mystery since such frogs do not have conventional reproductive organs. Scientists are still investigating the issue.
Prof Djoko Iskandar, a researcher from the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia, was the first one to discover the Sulawesi fanged frog in the 1990s, but he didn’t believe that it was a different species until last year.
Researchers named the new frog species Limnonectes larvaepartus. This new found species is not the only type of fanged frog. Scientists said that there are 25 species of fanged frogs on Sulawesi Island, but only four of them received a name and describing.
Researchers said that finding a new species of fanged frog was not rare, but discovering a new reproductive mode in frogs was. Scientists also said that amphibians have more than 40 reproductive modes, but the new found frog’s mode was one of a kind.
Scientists also said they were content they discovered such a unique type of frog on the Sulawesi Island because in this region the deforestation rate is one of the highest in the world.
“These kind of findings are really valuable, especially in Sulawesi where most of the forest is gone,”
said one of the researchers.
He also added that his colleagues were pleased to learn about the new species of fanged frogs before “it was too late.”
Image Source: TIME